War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 1000 N. AND SE.VA., W.VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

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January 1, 1865.

Major R. P. DUNCAN,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

MAJOR: Nothing worthy of report has occurred in front of this division during past twenty-four hours. Two men deserted to the enemy last night from Elliott's brigade. No casualties.

Respectfully, &c.,




January 1, 1865-8 p.m.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War:

SIR: I have the honor to report that Captain Thomas N. Conrad has just joined me, and at daylight to-morrow we will leave for the Potomac. I wrote to the provost-marshal at Fredericksburg a week since, requesting him to send my letter by a courier to Mr. C. I also wrote to Mr. C. on my arrival here last Monday night. Neither communication reached him until to-day. Thus far our movements are perfectly secret.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


First Lieutenant, Provisional Army, Confederate States.


Wilmington, January 1, 1865.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War, Richmond:

SIR: It can scarcely be possible that after such extraordinary preparations the enemy has altogether abandoned, or even long postponed, his designs upon this port on account of the repulse of the 24th and 25th of December. While the experience of that tremendous bombardment satisfies me as to the great powers of resistance of the forts to a stationary sea attack-that is, where the fleet takes up position with a view to silence the defense-it leaves the question of a passage of the batteries under full head of steam untouched. There has in this action been no test of that matter at all, the enemy not having made any attempt to pass the bar. There is no doubt, in my opinion, that steamers can run by guns on land-even ordinary steamers, to say nothing of those possessing great power of resistance to shot; and in all cases of persistent and determined attack obstructions should be provided, where the position admits, to detain the enemy under the guns of the forts long enough to destroy him. In this particular locality it is very difficult to devise any sort of obstruction which will answer the purpose, owing to the character of the channel, the bottom, tide, hydrography, &c.; still, something can be done, and provision to some extent has been made, but such obstructions as our limited resources can provide are not of a kind which can be placed and withdrawn at pleasure, and, therefore, while they will answer to keep the enemy out, they will also prevent our friends from running in, and as far as the value of the position is concerned it becomes to us useless and expensive, and we ourselves accomplish the design of the enemy as far as closing the port is concerned. It is for the Department to pronounce upon these consid-